EWG news roundup (8/26): Calif. passes bill to ban intentionally added PFAS in cosmetic products, a look at the 2022 toxic algae season and more

This week, lawmakers in California passed a bill to ban intentionally added toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS from cosmetics sold in the state.

“We applaud the legislature for approving this important bill to make sure what we put on our bodies is free from toxic chemicals, like PFAS,” said Susan Little, EWG’s senior advocate for California government affairs. “This is a huge deal. California has the largest statewide market for cosmetics and the sixth biggest economy in the world.”

In other California news, EWG applauded the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom for its proposal to ban by 2035 all new gasoline-powered automobiles. But EWG pointed out the new energy demand can be met only by dramatic expansions to rooftop solar.

“The ambitious plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars is exactly the kind of climate solution California and the rest of the country should be adopting,” said EWG President and Bay Area resident Ken Cook. “But it will require the state to dramatically ramp up investments in residential and commercial solar that will be needed to charge the millions of electric vehicles in the coming decade.”

As summer heads into its final stretch, EWG broke down the risks and dangers of toxic algae blooms.

The chemical giant Honeywell has begun marketing new uses for its trademarked PFAS chemicals called hydrofluoroolefins, or HFOs, in several consumer spray products. The company now indicates it’s looking to move use of HFOs into the personal care market. EWG has championed two bills in the California legislature, A.B. 2771 and A.B. 2247, that target this sort of unnecessary, or non-essential, use of PFAS.

Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.


Children’s health

Daily Kos: 'Dooming another generation of Americans': The crisis of exposure to toxic materials

They are everywhere, including more than half of car seats for babies, and are now found even in the rainwater of Earth's remotest regions like Antarctica. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has consumer guides for people to help navigate this toxic consumer minefield.

Newsmax Health: Helping Prevent Childhood Obesity

Parents can help prevent obesity in their children. Better meal planning and more physical activities will go a long way to changing outcomes. And it’s possible to reduce exposure to environmental toxins. For guidance, check out the Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org.

EPA designates PFOA and PFOS as 'hazardous substances'

New York Times: E.P.A. to Designate PFAS, or ‘Forever Chemicals,’ as Hazardous

The Environmental Working Group, an environmental organization, last year identified 41,828 industrial and municipal sites in the United States that it said are known or suspected of still using PFAS.

Washington Post: Biden administration to declare toxic ‘forever chemicals’ as hazardous

Melanie Benesh, vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, called the EPA’s move Friday “very significant” but cautioned that the rule alone won’t keep PFAS out of the manufacturing process.

Wall Street Journal: EPA Aims to Label Two ‘Forever Chemicals’ as Hazardous

“This is going to help kick-start the cleanup process in hundreds of communities that have been devastated by PFAS contamination and will give the EPA new tools to hold companies accountable,” said Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit.

The Hill: EPA proposes to designate two ‘forever chemicals’ as hazardous, aiming to bolster clean up

Melanie Benesh, vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said that the proposal would “jumpstart the cleanup process at a lot of contaminated sites and help the EPA hold polluters accountable for the mess that they have been making over decades.” Reprinted by Yahoo! and MSN.

Common Dreams: In 'Historic' Step, Biden EPA Moves to Designate Two Forever Chemicals as Hazardous

Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), called the rule "historic" and commended the Biden administration for signaling that “PFAS polluters will finally be forced to pay their fair share of cleaning up their mess.”

Water World: EPA proposes designating PFOA, PFOS as hazardous substances

“For decades, polluters dumped toxic PFOA and PFOS into scores of communities across the country with impunity,” says Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group. “Today’s proposal will give the EPA and those communities critical new tools to finally hold those polluters accountable and force them to clean up their mess.”

The Inflation Reduction Act

Politico: Hot deals: A consumer’s guide to the new climate law

The Inflation Reduction Act is the single largest investment in agricultural conservation in the country’s history, said Scott Faber, who tracks agricultural stewardship programs at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Today, the country spends about $6 billion annually on farmers to promote environmental sustainability. Reprinted byNews Break; News Akmi; Governor’s Wind & Solar Energy Coalition; Honest Columnist; Reporter Wings

Utility Dive: Inflation Reduction Act has ‘direct impact’ on California net energy metering modeling, utilities say

The utilities’ most recent filing met with criticism from the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group. The group’s president Ken Cook said in a statement that the utilities were using the federal clean energy law to pressure regulators to kill California’s rooftop solar program.

AFOs in Western Lake Erie Basin

Soundings Trade Only: It’s That Time of Year Again

This summer’s HABs are covering a significant portion of the western lake, including the islands that are so popular with boaters and anglers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s tracking of Microcystis cyanobacteria blooms. But the real shocker comes from a report by the Environmental Working Group that it’s large, unpermitted animal farms in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio that could be causing most of this nutrient pollution.

The American Farm Bureau Federation

Investigate Midwest: In Washington, agricultural policymakers circulate among Farm Bureau, USDA and industry

Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group, said some of the group’s non-agriculture viewpoints are cause for concern. “It’s fair to ask why an organization that espouses some of the most extreme views in America should have a say over farm policy,” he said. Reprinted by Honest Columnist and Reporter Wings.


Iowa Capital Dispatch: Who decides how your meat is grown?

As usual, at issue is a lot of money. As of On March 1, 2021, there were 23.8 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, the vast majority of which lived in about 4 million confinement units peppered throughout the state, according to the Environmental Working Group.

California to ban gas cars

CalMatters: State to vote on gas car ban

The Environmental Working Group, which is pushing California to expand rooftop solar programs, said in a statement: “One of the most pressing challenges the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom and future leaders will face is making sure there is enough power to charge all the new electric automobiles that will fill driveways, garages and parking lots throughout the most populous state in the country.”  Reprinted by The Observer (Sacramento, Calif.). 

Sacramento Bee: California just set historic electric-care rules. Is the state up to the task? (subscription)

“If you’re undermining the solar market you might have to rely on natural gas or other things to charge the automobiles,” said Grant Smith, an energy policy advisor with the Environmental Working Group. “This isn’t easy, it takes a lot of planning... a decentralized centralized electric system is critical for the state in terms of having a resilient system.” Reprinted by Energy Central, MSN, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and Government Technology.

PV Magazine: California to ban gas-powered car sales by 2035

“The ambitious plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars is exactly the kind of climate solutions California and the rest of the country should be adopting,” said EWG President and Bay Area resident Ken Cook.

California bills

Inside PFAS Policy: California Slated To Ban PFAS In Cosmetics As Senate Eyes Other Bills (subscription)

In a separate Aug. 25 statement, EWG welcomed the bill saying it will prohibit the sale of cosmetics containing hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), a class of chemicals that are considered PFAS by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development though not by EPA under its PFAS testing strategy.

Cleaning products

Insider: The 8 best natural cleaning products we tested for every room in your house

The EWG is a nonprofit that rates products based on whether or not they include ingredients that it deems hazardous. Some scientists have criticized the group's methodology. Reprinted by MSN

Reader’s Digest: 12 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Experts Swear By

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly makes a cleaning product eco-friendly? According to Samara Geller, a senior science analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the term is actually unregulated and has no working legal definition.

Skin Deep® cosmetics database

Women’s Health: 15 Feminine Wipes That Gynecologists Actually Approve To Keep You Feeling Fresh Down There

Dr. Greenleaf notes that these vaginal wipes are made from organic pulp and contain other natural ingredients, but you'll still find preservatives and humectants in them. The good news is most of the chemicals used rate between one and three on the EWG scale, with one being the least toxic.

The List: Inside The Creepy History Of Fake Eyelashes

But if you are concerned or curious as to what might be in the adhesive you're using for your falsies, try running your product through the Skin Deep Database by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). There you'll find a complete list of ingredients as well as a safety and toxicity rating. 

NPR: Transitioning to natural hair doesn't have to be complicated. 5 steps to make it easy

Consider talking to a professional stylist for a hair consultation and product recommendations. And check out the nonprofit Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database, which has safety rankings and detailed ingredient explanations for a variety of hair products. Reprinted by Verified News Explorer Network

Crop insurance

Salon: When climate-related weather events damage crops, what options do farmers have?

But some argue that the federal crop insurance program does not encourage farmers to adapt. Recent research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has highlighted this issue, pointing out that adaptation will be essential for responding to climate change in the long term.


CNN: How to wash your dishes sustainably, according to experts

Some third-party certifications that can help you find the safest products are EPA Safer Choice and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Verification. Check out the EPA Safer Choice list for dish soaps and the list of options that have received an EWG Verification.

EWG VERIFIED®: Cosmetics

Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia: The 20 Best Perfumes of All Time

A gorgeous combination of honeyed neroli, peony, jasmine, and musk, this top seller from Michelle Pfeiffer’s fragrance line smells both crisp and clean, and is made with clean ingredients; in fact, it’s the only fine fragrance line to be verified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Purewow: Knours Gives My Skin the Best 'Glazed Donut' Glow I've Ever Had

Knours is a clean skincare brand that formulates all of its products using EWG-verified ingredients. The multifunctional and cruelty-free line aims to support women of all ages and backgrounds. Reprinted by MSN.


Entrepreneur: This Eco-Friendly Disposable Diaper Aims to Disrupt Its Industry

The Healthybaby Monthly Diaper Bundle comes with five packs of their signature organic cotton diapers and four packs of their 100 percent water- and plant-based wet wipes. These products are EWG VERIFIED®, OEKO-TEX, and FSC certified, which means they don't contain chemicals with health or ecotoxicity concerns and are sustainably produced using practices that protect the world's forests, the company says. Reprinted by MarketBeat.

Farm Bill

The Delmarva Farmer (Md.): Farm Bill season arrives: What’s the outlook for 2023?

“Most of the Farm Bill affects eaters, not farmers,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at Environmental Working Group, one of the advocacy groups that tracks Farm Bill spending. Reprinted by Minnesota Reformer and Wisconsin Examiner.

Farm Subsidy Database

Bleeding Heartland: Grassley, Hinson bash student loan relief, but not other government handouts

When the Trump administration directed billions of dollars to compensate farmers for the impact of the trade war Donald Trump started, most of the money went to wealthy farmers, not struggling small operators. Some those ag bailout funds went to "city slickers," the EWG found.

Siouxland Proud (Sioux City, Iowa): Sen. Grassley’s stance on student loan relief; Family history of government subsidies

According to public records obtained by the Environmental Working Group and available in their online database, Senator Grassley and his family have collected more than $1.75 million in federal farm subsidies in the last two decades. Reprinted by WHO 13 (Des Moines, Iowa)

Flame retardants

One Green Planet: Is Replacing Old Furniture Good For Your Health?

A study led by researchers from the University of California, Davis, the Environmental Working Group, found that couches made before 2014 are likely filled with added flame retardant material. Flame retardants contain a large group of chemicals that may be harmful to your health.

Food chemicals

Eat This, Not That!: American Foods That Are Banned Abroad (And How They Can Impact Your Health)

This chemical is often used during flour processing to get higher-rising, whiter dough when baking bread products. That's not good news for your health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it's been linked to cancer. Reprinted by MSN; Yahoo!; Pehal News

Healthy Living: Home Guide

Los Angeles Times: How a mattress in a box left one family with health issues and $20,000 in damages

A number of low-cost mattress makers responded by turning to fiberglass as a substitute, said Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy and research group focused on toxic chemicals and corporate accountability. Reprinted by Verified News Explorer

The New Lede

The Guardian: Popular weedkiller Roundup on trial again as cancer victims demand justice

This story is co-published with the New Lede, a journalism project of the Environmental Working Group. Carey Gillam is managing editor of the New Lede and the author of two books addressing glyphosate: Whitewash (2017); and The Monsanto Papers (2021). Reprinted by Yahoo!; Topology Pro; MSN; Verified News Explorer; News Break; 5 additional media outlets


CBS News: This week on "Sunday Morning" (August 21)

(Segment features Melanie Benesh talking about PFAS)

CBS News: PFAS: The water contaminant that scientists say isn't going away

Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, said, "PFAS contamination is really a national crisis, and the real scale of contamination is staggering. The more we test, the more we find it." Reprinted by MSN; WSGW (Saginaw, Mich.); Sandhills Express (Broken Bow, Neb.); Today News Post; The World News; 9 additional media outlets.

NewsNation Prime: Study: No rainwater anywhere safe to drink due to ‘forever chemicals’

In the video above, Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs for Environmental Working Group, breaks down what the study could mean for you.

Buzzfeed: Here Are The Ways That PFAS Chemicals Might Cause Cancer, A New Study Says

The researchers looked for evidence of 10 such carcinogenic traits in animal, cell, and human studies of roughly two dozen PFAS chemicals. “We found that every single one of them exhibited at least one of the key characteristics” of carcinogens, said toxicologist Alexis Temkin of the advocacy group Environmental Working Group, which conducted the study with researchers from Indiana University.

PFAS in cosmetics

Vox: You probably have “forever chemicals” in your body. Here’s what that means.

Cosmetics and personal care products tend to have active ingredient lists, and if any ingredient has a “fluoro” something in it, beware. You can go to websites like Environmental Working Group, which say what to look for and score different products according to their health implications. Reprinted by Verified News Explorer; My Droll, MSN

PFAS destruction technique

Inside EPA: Environmentalists Hail Promising Results On Method To Degrade PFAS

In an Aug. 18 news release, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental group that advocates for strict regulation of PFAS, calls the new method “encouraging” as it does not require high temperatures or energy to break down the legacy PFAS perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Inside EPA: Quote-Unquote: Five current issues

A Northwestern University study, published in Science, sees potential in degrading certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a result the Environmental Working Group, which has called for strict PFAS regulation, said shows “real promise” but will need time to “move from the laboratory to real world application.”

Live Science: Scientists find a simple way to destroy 'forever chemicals' — by beheading them

PFAS chemicals pass through water treatment plants unaltered, and current clean-up methods are prohibitively expensive, Tasha Stoiber, an environmental chemist at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that tracks environmental contamination, told Science(opens in new tab).

PFAS in drinking water

Illinois Public Media: Synthetic Chemicals Found in Over 8 Million Illinoisans’ Drinking Water

The 21st spoke to a panel of guests to hear more about the study and learn about the impacts of emerging contaminants. Guests included John Scott, a senior chemist with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center; Sonya Lunder, Sierra Club's senior toxics advisor for the Clean Water, Toxic Chemicals, and Climate Resilience Program; Michael Hawthorne, investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune; and Melanie Benesh, vice president of Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

MPR News (Minn.): On Wisconsin’s French Island, residents live with lingering ‘forever chemicals’

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said local communities are having to bear the costs of treating water for PFAS. And as the levels considered safe to drink get lower, those costs will go up. Reprinted by Carsalad

WLOS ABC 13 (Ashville, N.C.): National nonprofit raises concerns about Asheville's drinking water

“Cancer is just one among many potential causes of harm of PFAS,” said Sydney Evans, a scientific analyst for Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group. “We have found PFAS in drinking water across the United States, including in Asheville.” Reprinted by PFAS Project Lab; Local 3 News (Chattanooga, Tenn.); KYMA TV(Yuma, Ariz.); Erie News Now (Pa.); KMIZ (Columbia, N.C.); 2 additional media outlets

PFAS and the military

Associated Press: ‘Forever chemicals’ pose urgent concern in New Mexico

Advocates have long urged action on PFAS after thousands of communities detected PFAS chemicals in their water. PFAS chemicals have been confirmed at nearly 400 military installations and at least 200 million people in the United States are drinking water contaminated with PFAS, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.

2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Better Homes & Gardens: How to Clean Broccoli 3 Ways—Plus How to Store the Vegetable to Extend Its Life

Like all fresh fruits and vegetables, broccoli can land in your kitchen carrying some contaminants, pests, or pesticides. Broccoli ranks in about the middle of the Environmental Working Group (EWG)'s Pesticides in Produce List, falling at number 22; not part of the "dirty dozen.” Reprinted by Yahoo! Life

Miami Herald: How Many Calories Are In An Apple? All the Nutrition Facts You Should Know (subscription)

As a matter of fact, apples have been routinely ranked among the top twelve “dirty” fruits and vegetables by the Environmental Working Group. To lower exposure to nitrosamines and other potentially harmful pesticide residues, the organization suggests opting for organic varieties of apples juice, apples fruits and apple sauce.

WBRE (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania): How to tell between organic and non-organic produce

The USDA and the FDA test thousands of samples of products sold in American grocery stores. The environmental working group analyzes the samples to determine which product has the most pesticide residue and which has the least. So you can decide when to spend and when to save. The clean 15 list includes which produce has less pesticides.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Mind Body Green: No, I'm Not Wearing Highlighter — This Glowy Sunscreen Is Just That Good

First things first: Essential Glow is a 100% mineral formula. It contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the only two ingredients the Environmental Working Group has deemed safe for use and effective at protecting the skin from UV damage.

Reviewed: The Best Organic Sunscreens of 2022

As a small business, Goddess Garden Organics is starting to build a reputation for their great organic sunscreens. This sunscreen is endorsed by the EWG as a-low hazard product, using titanium dioxide (6.4%) and zinc oxide (6%) for active ingredients.

Tap Water Database

Parade: Here's Why You Probably Shouldn't Drink That Glass of Water You Left Out On Your Nightstand

To make sure the tap water in your area is safe and free from toxic chemicals, you can check out EWG’s tap water database and enter your zip code. Reprinted by MSN; Verified News Explorer; Quick Telecast

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